Monday, August 1, 2016
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: COUNTERMEASURE - MADE TO MEASURE
What's the most fascinating instrument in the orchestra? The one that can do it all, hit every note, make all the chords, and mimic all the other lesser one? The human voice of course, on its own or with plenty of pals. A cappella groups are pretty much always treated as novelty acts, but they are always pretty fascinating too. Toronto's Countermeasure gets placed in the jazz vocal world, but the large group of 14 fabulous singers can handle everything and anything, doing a pretty solid rap-based cut, soundscapes, choral work, re-imagined rock tunes, and show tune styles.
Behind it all are the complex arrangements of Aaron Jensen, envisioning new and wildly different arrangements for the works, several of which you'll know, but certainly not like this. Bruce Cockburn's Lovers In A Dangerous Time is just as much about the tones and sounds, the melody removed. The Beatles' I Saw Her Standing There becomes a mix of elements from several of their songs, bass lines here, little melody moments there. The specialists involved come through with more than just the basic beat box sound; there are saxophones, trains, all manner of percussion, electric guitar, whatever is called for, or whatever comes to mind to surprise. It's no novelty for sure, it's inspired and something to dig into and repeat.